| 01.11,19. 04:13 PM |
Childcare centre charged after dashcam films toddlers escaping and running on road
Dashcam vision shows the children running into traffic in Werribee. (Vision: The Age) (ABC News)
A major childcare business, which operates 70 kindergarten and daycare centres around Melbourne, will face court after two toddlers escaped from a childcare centre and ran onto a busy road.
Dashcam footage captured the heart-stopping moment when the two young children ran across two lanes of traffic and over the median strip on Ballan Road after getting out of the Werribee West Family Centre on March 12.
Vision published by The Age shows drivers stopping in the middle of the road, which has a speed limit of 70 kilometres per hour.
One motorist gets out of their car and ushers the children to safety.
Childcare workers then rush out to collect the children, who were unhurt.
Today, Victoria's Department of Education and Training confirmed that charges had been laid against Early Childhood Management Services (ECMS), which has operated in Melbourne for more than two decades.
"The safety of children being cared for by early childhood providers is of utmost importance," a department statement said.
"The Department recently issued charges against Early Childhood Management Services following an incident at Werribee West Family Centre in March this year."
ECMS chief executive Kim Bertino said the company had cooperated with the education department's investigation.
"I would like to reiterate that we remain deeply sorry that this incident occurred and grateful that the children were unharmed," Ms Bertino said in a statement.
"We have taken significant steps since the incident to further review and enforce procedures at all our sites to protect the safety and wellbeing of children in our care.
"As the matter is now before the courts, we are unable to comment further."
The education department is responsible for monitoring early childhood services.
The ABC understands the charges relate to breaches of the Education and Care Services National Law Act, which requires businesses to adequately supervise children and take reasonable precautions to protect them from harm.
According to the ECMS website, the Werribee West Family Centre cares for children aged between six weeks and six years.
It says they deliver play-based learning and "even more importantly, our educators will ensure your child is safe, secure and happy while at Werribee West Family Centre".